International Consultancy for the IASC Review of the Implementation of the IASC Protection Policy 

International Consultancy for the IASC Review of the Implementation of the IASC Protection Policy

International Consultancy for the IASC Review of the Implementation of the IASC Protection Policy

Opportunity Background

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is an independent, humanitarian, non-profit, non-governmental organisation which provides assistance, protection and durable solutions to refugees. As host organisation for the purpose of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Review, NRC is seeking an international consultancy to undertake the IASC Review of the implementation of the IASC Protection Policy.

Purpose of the consultancy

The objective of the Review is to provide the IASC Principals with an analytical review of IASC Protection Policy implementation and provide recommendations to strengthening protection outcomes, manifested as the reduction of protection risks, over the next five years.

The Review will be conducted by a team of independent consultants in a manner that encourages whole-of-system engagement and buy-in for the Review and its findings and recommendations while ensuring that it leads to actionable recommendations.

Consultancy assignment background

The UN Secretary General’s 2012 Internal Review Panel on United Nations Action in Sri Lanka (IRP Report) led the IASC Principals to make protection a priority for the IASC agenda. As a result, in December 2013 the IASC Principals adopted a Statement on the Centrality of Protection in Humanitarian Action, highlighting that the “protection of all persons affected and at risk must inform humanitarian decision-making and response, including engagement with States and non-State parties to conflict. It must be central to our preparedness efforts, as part of immediate and life-saving activities, and throughout the duration of humanitarian response and beyond.” This initiative was born out of a recognition that more concerted and whole-of-system effort is needed to address the most complex and severe risks of violence, coercion, and deliberate deprivation that people face in humanitarian crises.

In 2015, the IASC subsequently commissioned an independent Whole-of-System Review of Protection in Humanitarian Action to examine the functioning of the humanitarian system against the aspiration presented in this IASC Principals policy statement. Drawing in part on the findings and recommendations of the review, in 2016 the IASC then adopted a Policy on Protection in Humanitarian Action (hereafter referred to as the IASC Protection Policy) which further elaborated on the means of fulfilling the Centrality of Protection in practice.

Following the adoption of the IASC Protection Policy, protection was subsequently dropped as an IASC priority agenda item and there was no coordinated system-wide rollout or explanatory guidance to support its implementation. However, there is now widespread recognition that comprehensive risk reduction often necessitates multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary efforts and, consequently, that many parts of the humanitarian system must work in concert for shared outcomes. It is also increasingly understood that some risks may necessarily entail the mobilization of capacities and actors from outside the humanitarian system, including the diplomatic community, in order to achieve the outcome of reduced risk.

In 2018, a Stocktake on the IASC Protection Policy and the Centrality of Protection was convened under the auspices of the Global Protection Cluster. It noted that much more system-wide work needs to be done to grapple with the practical implications of approaching protection as a collective outcome and to establish replicable good practice to reduce risk. This means changing harmful policies, practices, and behaviours as well as people’s vulnerability and exposure to such harm. Collective, multi-disciplinary strategies as well as greater investment in dialogue with State and non-State parties to conflict were identified as key factors in achieving this goal.

In 2019, the IASC adopted a new two-year work plan and structure, including the Operations, Policy and Advocacy Group (OPAG) and five ‘Results Groups’ (RG) to coordinate around IASC priorities. Result Group 1 (RG1) focuses on Enhancing Operational Response, which seeks to revitalise coordinated efforts for the Centrality of Protection and support an IASC protection agenda. RG1 established a working group on Centrality of Protection (CoP WG), co-led by OCHA and InterAction, involving various UN and NGO stakeholders.

In December 2020, the OPAG endorsed a Terms of Reference for the Review of the Implementation of the IASC Protection Policy. This Review is being undertaken five years after the adoption of the IASC Protection Policy with a view to informing concrete steps to strengthen the contribution of the international humanitarian system to protection outcomes.

Opportunity Structure

Scope of work

The Review will consider implementation of the Policy across the humanitarian system and in range of humanitarian crises, including those related to armed conflict, other situations of violence, pandemics, and disasters.

  1. It will examine whether and how:
  • There are changes in ways of working at global, regional and country level in relation to the IASC Protection Policy, including how the notion of protection outcomes and ways of working are set out, understood and implemented in practice by individual local, national, and international NGOs, NGO consortia, and UN entities, and reflected in the leadership, approaches and practices (including of the Humanitarian Programme Cycle) and of inter-agency fora, including clusters/sector working groups and sub-clusters/working groups, inter-sector working groups, Humanitarian Country Teams, IASC entities, including the Emergency Director’s Group.
  • There are changes in senior humanitarian leadership awareness, approaches, and practices in relation to the IASC Protection Policy at global and country-level, including by Humanitarian Coordinators, Humanitarian Country Team representatives, and the IASC Principals.
  • Individual organizations have sought to absorb and reinforce their roles and responsibilities and carry out concrete steps to place protection at the center of humanitarian action including through, for example, internal organizational policy, guidelines, toolkits, training, new management practices, how resources are allocated in support of protection outcomes, or other means.
  • The four commitments of the Policy are being implemented, including as they relate to preparedness measures and the mobilization of stakeholders beyond the humanitarian community, for example, peacebuilding and development actors, for their contributions to protection outcomes.
  • Donor entities have sought to absorb and support humanitarian actors to adopt the ways of working set out in the IASC Protection Policy through policies and guidelines – for example to enhance ways of working to achieve protection outcomes – funding priorities, or management of partnerships.
  1. The Review will also examine examples whereby:
  • Significant investment has been made by any organization, inter-agency forum, or individual in a leadership role to adapt ways of working in accordance with the IASC Protection Policy, and what influence this has had on their decision-making, protection strategies, cultivation of relationships with other stakeholders, and programming.
  • Notable progress against protection outcomes has been made, how this progress is manifested, and the strategies and underlying practices and ways of working that contribute to this progress, including from the perspective of affected persons.
  1. The Review will also provide an analysis of key challenges faced in implementation of the Policy and recommend steps to address these gaps. Recommendations will identify future priority actions, by the IASC as well as individual humanitarian actors and donor entities, to support and empower creative implementation of the Policy. This could include possible linkages with other IASC policy and accountability frameworks (e.g. IASC Gender Policy) or initiatives that could reinforce the Policy such as the UN Secretary-General’s ‘Call to Action for Human Rights’ (2020). In addition, it will provide information and recommendations for action to take now that will facilitate a future review of the impact of the Policy.

Competitive Scope

Key Deliverables will be:

  1. An Inception Report providing the planned analytical approach, including detailed methodology and an initial identification of key issues and questions to be explored, priority benchmarks against which progress may be assessed, interviews and workshops to be conducted, and potential key issues to be documented.
  2. A draft Review report (this should include a comprehensive outline/structure of the overall report, notional recommendations, and its annexes, and at least 65% of the main body of the report should be completed)
  3. A final Review report, including:
  • Explanation of the analytical approach, methodology, and constraints encountered.
  • Essential and critical findings.
  • Documented examples illustrative of the key issues, themes, and dynamics observed.
  • Practical recommendations to strengthen IASC PP implementation, including ways of working at HQ and field level programming, to achieve protection outcomes in humanitarian action. These recommendations should avoid reiterating past recommendations but rather address opportunities to systematize good practice and overcome persistent and systemic constraints and barriers that inhibit achievement of protection outcomes and fulfillment of the aspiration articulated in the IASC Principals Statement on the Centrality of Protection. This may include inter-agency structures and decision-making practices.
  • Annexes, including list of individuals interviewed (including organization and job role), documentation and literature consulted, documentation from workshops/focus group discussions held (including agenda, composition of participants, 1-page discussion summary).
  1. Presentations of findings and recommendations in various inter-agency fora, including the IASC Principals, OPAG/EDG and other subsidiary bodies (TBD, as appropriate).

Institutional and organisational arrangements

This will be an institutional consultancy and will be commissioned to carry out the Review in accordance with these Terms of Reference.

NRC Geneva will take on the role of host agency for the administration of the Review process.

A small committee of IASC members will be formed to ensure system-wide support for the Review, perform oversight over the Review process, and act as a sounding board for the consultants. Regarding the substance of the issues being addressed, the full RG1 and its CoP sub-group will be the main fora for input on the Inception Report and draft Review report and will be expected to support a diverse cross-section of inputs.

Upon completion of the Review, the IASC’s Operations, Policy and Advocacy Group (OPAG) will develop a Management Action Plan to facilitate IASC-wide absorption and meaningful action on the Review findings and recommendations.

NRC will own the intellectual property rights to all materials submitted by the consultants under the contract. The consultants must therefore ensure that they have possession of any materials provided to NRC as a part of the deliverable. The rights to reproduce the reports will fall to NRC. NRC will be free to reproduce the materials at will and to grant reproduction rights.

Duties of the institutional consultant (hereafter, the Consultant)

  • Reports should be submitted in Microsoft Word format, in UK English. All text should be unformatted. Graphs or other graphical devices should be editable (i.e. not pictures). All references must be cited according to convention, and detailed in a bibliography, using the Harvard system as set out in the UNESCO Style Manual. All verbatim quotations must appear in quotation marks, and must not be of excessive length. All data collected under the consultancy must be submitted with the deliverables, in a widely recognised format such as Microsoft Excel.
  • Everything submitted to NRC must be the original work of the Consultant. Any plagiarism in any form, or any other breach of intellectual property rights, will automatically disqualify the Consultant from receiving any further payments under the contract by NRC, and NRC will seek to recover any payments already made.
  • The Consultant will follow Ethical Research Involving Children ( guidance on the ethical participation of children. In addition, all participants in any study or other interaction will be fully informed about the nature and purpose of the interaction and their requested involvement. Informed consent must be obtained for any photographs, audio or video recordings, etc., in accordance with NRC’s policy on consent.
  • Equipment to be used: the Consultant will use their own personal equipment.
  • The Consultant is responsible for their own travel, health & accident insurance. NRC will include the Consultancy in NRCs travel insurance if traveling to high risk countries not covered by the Consultancy’s insurance.
  • The Consultant is solely responsible for complying with all applicable taxation and social security laws and regulations
  • International travels and subsistence costs:
    • Travel arrangements will be made by NRC, according to NRC’s relevant travel policy.
    • NRC will provide invitation letters if required by authorities for travels discussed and agreed with relevant Country Offices. The Consultant will be responsible for applying for their own visas, unless otherwise required by national authorities.
    • The Consultant must observe all NRC security policies and regulations while working with NRC and while in NRC premises or vehicles. The Consultant agrees to observe NRC’s Code of Conduct for non-staff while working with NRC.

Application procedure

All interested are requested to submit a proposal along with other required documents listed below to the following email:

The application should be titled: “IASC Protection Policy Review” in the e-mail subject.

Only short listed/successful candidates will be contacted.

The deadline for submission is 23:59 (Geneva time) Sunday 9 May 2021.

  • To help us track our procurement effort, please indicate in your email where ( you saw this tender/procurement notice.
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